Madeira was once the most prestigious wine in America. And the most prestigious style of Madeira was Rainwater. Rainwater took its name from its pale color and delicate texture and flavor. Yet, the origins of the style are shrouded in mystery. Some attributed it to a Savannah wine merchant after the Civil War, but that cannot be, as Rainwaters existed at least a half century earlier. Others said Rainwaters were a freak of nature. Noel Cossart credited his own firm with creating Rainwater in the 1700s, after a barrel of wine was left on a beach. Rainwater Madeira reached the pinnacle of prestige in Baltimore. In 1902, that city's greatest Madeira connoisseur, Douglas H. Thomas, called Rainwater "the highest standard." And the absence of any Rainwaters in a 1990 New York auction prompted one merchant to speculate that "Baltimore connoisseurs thought so highly of them that they bought them all up and none reached New York." The Madeira in this bottle replicates in style the classic 19th-century Rainwaters.
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